Mount Kumgang has been known for its scenic beauty since ancient timesand is the subject of many different works of art. Including its spring name, Kŭmgang (Hangul: 금강산; Hanja: 金剛), it has many different names for each season, but it is most widely known today in the Korean language as Kŭmgangsan. In summer it is called Pongraesan (봉래산, 蓬萊山: the place where a Spirit dwells); in autumn, Phung’aksan (풍악산, 楓岳山: hill of colored leaves, or 楓骨山: great mountain of colored leaves in winter, Kaegolsan (개골산, 皆骨山: stone bone mountain).
The mountain consists almost entirely of granite and diorite, weathered over centuries into a wide variety of shapes, including over 12,000 picturesque stone formations, ravines, cliffs, stone pillars, and peaks. Much of the mountain is covered by mixed broadleaf and coniferous forest and protected in a 60,000 ha national park. Some 25,000 ha has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports endangered Red-crowned Cranes.
Mount Kumgang is commonly divided into three areas: Inner Kŭmgang, Outer Kŭmgang, and Sea Kŭmgang, each with different geological and topographical features.
Inner Kŭmgang is noted for its views. The Manpok ravine is popular with tourists.
Outer Kŭmgang is noted for the large number of peaks. Chipson Peak (rock of ten thousand forms) is known for its many waterfalls.
The Sea Kŭmgang area is known for the lagoons and stone pillars.
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